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Not for Sale



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museum, a clinic, and an orphanage. Across the road was a collection of leather goods and paintings for sale by local artisans.

The museum contained more than I expected. In addition to Arawak pottery and slave-carved furniture, there was a collection of toys artfully constructed from trash by the children of the mission, which is the oldest in Haiti. We met the foundress, who, with her husband, had started the mission and clinic 49 years earlier.

“You see the terraces on the hillside? The mission helped the people build them, so they could farm,” explained Danny T.

“Unfortunately, they didn’t hold during tropical storm Gordon last summer,” the foundress added. “Seven hundred people were washed down the ravine. Some were never found. The saddest thing, though, were those who climbed out, covered with mud, who lost everything. We still have seven families we haven’t found homes for. They just live outdoors—foraging for food. If you find someone in the U.S. who wants to do something, we’d appreciate your help.”

There was irony in her comments about the flood. There had been a small item in the Miami newspaper about 700 people drowning in Port-au-Prince. Either these people in Kenscoff were totally ignored, or the reporter didn’t know the difference between the city and the countryside. As a second irony, that day the news reported that 1,500 people died in an earthquake in Japan. That tragedy made front-page news for a week.

We toured the grounds, including the clinic, where they used a butcher’s scale with an attached sling to weigh the children. The clinic was busy, with a line of people outside the door waiting to be seen. Orphans, identifiable by their shared uniforms, were running around chasing each other. We had lunch in the American-style cafeteria. The menu was mostly hamburgers and hot dogs. I had no interest in eating, but I did order a plate of french fries and sat down with Ruth at a window with a view of the whole valley.

As we were preparing to leave, Henri and Junia gave me books as a gift for making their trip possible. One was a book on learning Creole, and the other was a book of Creole proverbs. The foundress



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